13 Feb 2011

109th birthday almost reached

11:56 am on 13 February 2011

One of the oldest women in New Zealand has died, two weeks before her 109th birthday.

Esther Moreland died at Parkwood retirement village in Waikanae, north of Wellington, on Friday.

She was born in Hunterville and grew up in Lower Hutt with four brothers and five sisters before marrying Charles Moreland, a property developer. They had one child, Joan, who died 20 years ago.

Mrs Moreland moved to Waikanae 25 years ago.

Great-niece Jennifer Meech says it is a shame she did not make it to her next birthday because it was one of her favourite conversation topics.

Mrs Meech says that when she took her to cafes, Mrs Moreland would ask strangers to guess her age.

Mrs Meech says her great-aunt was a Christian Scientist who attributed her longevity to her faith in God.

Although Mrs Moreland hated salad, she ate healthily, was a teetotaler, and never had antibiotics until about a year ago.